Teachers often introduce a picture book by asking a class to look at the book’s cover. Sometimes the artist’s tantalizing skills bring an immediate reaction from the kids. The illustrator has effectively expressed an appealing aspect of the book. A pervasive feeling fills the classroom. The book needs to be opened because the students are eager to know more. They are hooked.
- Does this fixation with book covers carry over to adults?
- Will a colorful or intriguing cover jump off the shelves at a local bookstore?
- Will one small icon on an Amazon page say, “buy me?”
Until I started on the journey of writing my memoir, I never consciously thought that book covers mattered. I adhered to the adage- “You can’t judge a book by its cover.” I tended to select books based on what was inside rather than the outside. But was it possible that an image or a combination of colors caused me to notice a book that I might not have considered?
Once I needed to select my own book cover, my opinions were turned upside down. I read numerous internet articles. I rummaged through my personal book collection and then headed to the local bookstore. There were endless designs, color schemes, and fonts. My head was spinning by the time I started to look at miniaturized versions of book covers on Amazon’s website.
Last March, my website was being designed and I needed something tangible to represent my book. My initial web designer and one of her colleagues provided different options. I polled family members and a few friends. Eventually, I selected one that I initially thought represented my book.
With most of my book set in India and an ambiguous title, MAY THIS BE THE BEST YEAR OF YOUR LIFE: A MEMOIR, my cover had to represent that country. At first, the image of a traditionally dressed Indian woman carrying a heavy burden seemed like a perfect match. The image was downloaded to my website. Within a short period of time the cover design became connected with my name. I was one step closer to the end product.
Months passed as my book was edited and prepared for publication. In the meantime, I stared at my cover design and uncertainty eroded my confidence in the original selection.
- Did the cover represent my story?
- Would the cover entice anyone to buy my book?
I had my doubts. I asked my publisher to create two new options. When I opened up the electronic file, I knew that the designer had hit the mark. I was ecstatic. Instead of an Indian woman, an image of a Western woman stood prominently off to the right side. She was glancing off into the horizon with a backpack by her side. I felt that my voice had been translated into that picture. My adventure was filled with so many incredible experiences, but I also had numerous reflective moments. The woman in the picture represented that amazing journey. I looked again and focused on the colorful and layered background. The design wrapped into the spine and back cover and followed an Indian motif. It proudly displayed the colors of the Indian flag. I loved my new color scheme. Both the image and the artwork connected with the underlying message of my memoir.
This week, I received the proof copy of my book. I tore open the package like a small child eager to see a new gift. I held the book in my hands. It was a moment that I will never forget.
For decades, I have wanted to write a book. I tossed around different topics and genres. Everything seemed flat and uninspiring. When I went to India something changed. Suddenly, my life was in full bloom. My emotions peaked as I stepped outside my usual comfort zone. I started a blog and took notes. I was on my way to fulfilling my dream to write and publish a book.
I will check and recheck my book, MAY THIS BE THE BEST YEAR OF YOUR LIFE: A MEMOIR. When the book is ready, I will publish it. Then I will be able to share my adventure with everyone who wants to read my story. Ideally, my book cover will hook those who judge a book by its cover and my words will intrigue those who don’t judge a book by its cover.
Please send me an email if you want to be notified when the book is published.